It was a dark & stormy night when men & women gathered in a count's gothic castle, in The Blancheville Monster (1963).
Young Emily De Blanchville (Ombretta Colli) comes of age on the following day. According to a family curse, if she lives past the age of majority, the family line will become extinct.
Why she would return to the castle on the very eve that someone might kill her is anyone's guess, but in no time at all she has fallen into a mesmerized condition of sleepwalking, nightmares, & incommunicative terror.
The poor title Blancheville Monster makes one suppose the story will take place in a village called Blancheville & when it turns out to be an old French family name, it still seems dumb. But the original Italian name is just as bad, being simply the generic Horror, even though it is not so much a horror film as it is a Lady's Gothic Mystery.
The mood is sustained by sinister characters such as the beautiful but weird nurse/housekeeper & the apparently duplicitous doctor, with intimations of mysterious plots & the distant sound of a dog baying, or is it the sound of a human being tortured.
When not just standing or sitting about talking, people walk around in the dark with candles or run through the woods wearing a cape, so that much of the film's short duration is mere padding. The black & white Bava-like cinematography, effectively creepy score, & moodily authentic ruins setting are the chief sources of suspense, but's there's really not much happening inside the suggestive shadows.
The chap who long seems most likely to be the villain behaves like an evil mesmerist, but is probably going to turn out to be the good guy, while the obvious good guy (the tragic-visaged brother) is fairly obviously going to turn out to be completely psycho.
The presumed "monster" of the title is a burn victim who has apparently lost his mind, escaped from the tower where he had long been hidden away, & lurks about the castle awaiting the chance to kill innocent Emily.
The "best" of the poor sequences develops the Premature Burial motif while the young woman is in a deep hypnotic trance, seemingly dead. In the end, burn victims are cleared of the assumption they're apt to be inherently evil, the girl is saved, & the skimpiest of mysteries is resolved to nobody's surprise.
If a viewer is in the mood for extreme triviality, then The Blancheville Monster isn't entirely unsatisfactory.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl